If you have a crack in your tempered glass screen protector, then it's done its job. It's taken the lumps so that your iPhone or iPad's screen didn't have to. Once a tempered glass screen protector has a crack in it, it's exponentially less effective – you should replace it. Here's how to replace yours so that your iPhone or iPad's screen remains soundly protected.
Removing your old tempered glass screen protector
There are a few ways to remove your busted tempered glass screen protector, and the one you use will depend on just how well-attached the protector is to your screen.
Before you start, use a hair dryer on low on your screen for about 15 seconds. This should slightly heat up and loosen the adhesive on the screen protector. Do not overdo this part.
Before getting out your toolkit and working on your iPhone or iPad like it's one of Frankenstein's creations, try removing the screen protector with your fingernail.
- Start by trying to lift the screen protector up from each corner. One of them's gotta give!
- Once it starts coming up, stop pulling from just the corner and move further along the protector as it starts to peel off. This will help prevent it from falling to pieces before you can get it all the way off.
- Pull slowly and evenly; otherwise, you'll have a jigsaw puzzle of tempered glass pieces to clean up.
- Try using a toothpick to pry up one of the corners. Make sure you point the sharp end up toward the screen protector as you do this and not down toward the screen.
- Once you can get a corner up, pull with your fingers, once again pulling slowly and evenly.
- If you can, slide a credit card into the gap and slowly push it along to lift the screen protector.
Try some duct tape!
- Roll a piece of duct tape around two of your fingers with the sticky side out.
- Start in a corner and press the duct tape onto it, rolling away from a corner slowly. Hopefully, the duct tape will adhere to the screen protector, and you'll be able to pull it up and off.
Installing your new tempered glass screen protector screen protector
It's hopefully been a long time since you've had to install a tempered glass screen protector, so we'll forgive you, forgetting. Just like removal, there are a couple of installation methods, which will differ based on brand and style.
Either way, make sure your hands are clean so as not to leave residue, dust, or dirt on your iPhone or iPad's screen. This can cause bubbles under your screen protector.
This method is for tempered glass screen protectors that did not come with a bottle of solution.
- Clean your phone's screen with an alcohol pad if the protector came with one. Otherwise, use a lint-free microfiber cloth.
- Hold the screen protector and peel off the film on its sticky side.
- Very carefully align the screen protector with your iPhone or iPad's screen, making sure you line up the Home button, earpiece, and camera holes.
- Slowly place the screen protector onto your screen, starting from one end and carefully working your way to the other.
- Use a credit card or any application tools that were included with your protector to ensure that it goes on evenly and without bubbles.
- Smooth out any bubbles with a credit card or the installation card that came with your screen protector.
- Starting in the center, push bubbles out toward the edges of your screen with short movements. If you try long pushes, you'll just spread the bubble out under the screen protector. You can also use a microfiber cloth to do this.
- Remove the film from on top of your screen protector. This should reveal a completely clean screen protector.
This method is for tempered glass screen protectors that come with a bottle of spray solution (usually alcohol) to aid in installation. Some folks prefer applying screen protectors this way since it cuts down on static and helps prevent dust and hair from sneaking under your screen protector.
- Clean your iPhone or iPad's screen using the spray and a soft cleaning cloth.
- Spray both the front and back of the screen protector, being generous with the spray. This will prevent it from drying up during installation.
- Carefully place the screen protector onto your iPhone or iPad's screen.
- Balance one end on the screen and slowly apply it from one end to the other, using a credit card or the flat of your hand.
- Use the squeegee that comes with wet-mounted tempered glass screen protectors to squeeze the excess solution out from under the screen protector.
- Start in the center and gently push it out toward the edges, making sure to hold onto the protector, so it doesn't shift around.
- Leave it to dry for at least half an hour. If you're putting a case on your iPhone or iPad, wait at least a couple hours. This will prevent the screen protector from shifting around and will allow it to fully adhere to your screen.
Keep in mind that during installation, you may have to remoisten the screen protector. It can be rather tedious to line everything up properly and you may have to reapply the spray a few times. Just be patient and careful.
Always remember that if there's any pits or cracks in your tempered glass screen protector, you should replace it, even if they're minor. Glass has a habit of turning minor cracks and pits into major defects.
Our top equipment picks
For iPhone XS
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Spigen Tempered Glass Screen Protector
Spigen is another popular brand for smartphone accessories, and you may even have some Spigen cases ready to go for your new iPhone Xs. It provides durable protection for your iPhone XS while it's nestled safely in your Spigen case of choice. It includes installation wings to make it easy to apply, and you get two, just in case.
For iPhone XS Max
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amFilm tempered glass screen protector
amFilm is a popular brand for quality screen protectors, and they also come prepared for the iPhone XS Max. You can get a 3-pack of amFilm screen protectors for $8 on Amazon, and they're tough and durable like their previous products. It comes with everything you need to make sure that the installation goes smoothly, and you get two spares if something goes wrong.
For iPhone XR
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Maxboost Tempered Glass Screen Protector
Maxboost's 0.25mm screen protector is super thin to make sure it doesn't interfere with the touch capabilities of your iPhone XR's screen, and Its open-edge design means it's case-friendly, so you can slip your phone into your favorite case without worrying! Say goodbye to annoying fingerprints too, thanks to it's oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings!
Lots of screen protectors come with their own removal and/or installation kits; however, there are a couple of items that are never bad to have around the house that can help you with the process.
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MagicFiber Microfiber cleaning cloths (opens in new tab) ($9 at Amazon)
It's never a bad idea to have some screen cleaning cloths on hand when installing or remove screen protector from your devices. Keep the fingerprints, dust, and other grime away for a clean and smooth installation.
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Gorilla Tape duct tape (opens in new tab) ($5 at Amazon)
As mentioned in the above guide, a bit of duct tape can help you remove your old broken screen protector.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.